When done right, an effective welcome and onboarding strategy will have a positive effect on member retention, quality improvement and risk mitigation. Recently, Eliza’s SVP of Market Strategy and Consulting, Ellen Harrison, and I hosted a webinar on best practices in health plan welcome and onboarding engagement. If you missed it, you can watch it in your own time on-demand here.
Here are five tips for building an effective welcome and onboarding program:
1. First Impressions Matter
Don’t miss an opportunity to build loyalty by welcoming members to the plan and orienting them to their new benefits. The last thing you want is a member’s first interaction with the health plan to be a claims dispute. Take a proactive approach and reach out to members with something more than an Evidence of Coverage that is likely to be lost in the mail or at the bottom of a pile of junk mail.
2. Timing is Everything
Reach out to members early to make sure they have the information they need to use, and keep, their benefits. When it comes to Marketplace and Medicare Advantage plans, don’t wait until coverage has started to start the orientation process. 15% of Marketplace enrollees don’t pay their first month’s premium, and never effectuate coverage. Thank members for choosing your plan and remind them how and when to pay their premium in order to access their benefits.
3. Get to Know Your Members Early
This is the best time to assess risk and barriers to care. Don’t wait for a claim to come in noting a chronic condition, comorbidities, or an avoidable ER visit to identify high-risk members for care management programs. Use this time to conduct a health risk assessment, including social determinants of health. Whether you’re talking to someone with diabetes, an expectant mom, or someone who doesn’t know where their next meal is coming from, find out what’s going on and connect them with the resources they need to be their healthiest selves.
4. Go Multi-channel, Multi-touch
A multi-channel, multi-touch approach yields improved reach and satisfaction rates, as well as outcomes. A welcome call is the perfect opportunity to verify contact information, collect email addresses and permission to send text messages. We consistently see a lift in engagement rates when adding channels to the engagement strategy. Email and text are great channels for reinforcing key information contained in welcome messages. –And once you have that data, use it to fuel future interactions.
5. Make it Meaningful
Each population is going to have different needs upon enrollment. For new Medicare members, it’s imperative to transfer prescriptions. Marketplace members are probably going to need a brief tutorial on health plan lingo. And Medicaid enrollees should be given a primer on the redetermination process and how to keep their benefits. Make sure you evaluate and address the specific onboarding needs of your population, instead of taking a one-size-fits-all approach.
While the welcome and onboarding process is traditionally thought of as a marketing function, it is truly a cross-departmental exercise that serves as the kick-off for retention, quality improvement and care management activities, while covering critical compliance requirements. It’s important to set a welcoming and supportive tone, in a timely manner, with relevant information for your members to get the most out of their membership in order to influence clinical quality, member loyalty and costs.